Former prisoners will be eligible for health coverage starting in January under Obamacare in a change lauded by advocates and public health officials, Stateline reports.
The population, which has struggled to get health coverage in the past, will be more able to do so with the expansion of state Medicaid programs and the availability of tax credits for the purchase of private health plans, the two key parts of the health care reform law.
Advocates say this change will help improve the often poor health of ex-cons, reduce the spread of infectious diseases, lighten the load for emergency rooms and lower health care costs overall. It may even keep former prisoners from returning to crime, they say.
"It potentially revolutionizes the criminal justice system and health system," said Faye Taxman, a health services criminologist at George Mason University in Vienna, Va., told Stateline.
Many former prisoners do not continue to receive treatment for chronic conditions or medications they had received in prison. Without insurance, they lack access to primary care doctors, and instead seek out expensive care from emergency rooms, the article said.